New England Academy is staffed by a close-knit team of experienced educational and clinical professionals who share a commitment to helping students fulfill their potential. All staff members are certified by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and have a background in working with students with social and emotional disabilities.
Ryan Plosker, M.S., CAGS, Ed.D Executive Director and Founder
Ryan is the Executive Director and founder of New England Academy. Throughout his career, Dr. Plosker has worked to bridge the gap between psychology and education to meet the needs of students—from his clinical work at Children’s Hospital in Boston to his later work as a public school psychologist, school director, and special education administrator. Dr. Plosker shares his educational and clinical insights, teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate level. He has a B.S. in Psychology, a Masters and CAGS in School Psychology and completed his Ph.D. coursework from Northeastern University before completing his doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Massachusetts.
Courtni Laracy, M.Ed., Ed.S Dean of Students
Courtni has been teaching in the field of special education for over 12 years. She has her certification in Moderate Disabilities Grades K-12 and is licensed as a Special Education Administrator. Prior to entering into administration, Courtni was an English teacher with a focus on fostering a love of literature and writing and helping students become independent learners. Along with her administrative duties, Courtni leads the NEA students through the entire post-secondary planning process. Beginning in the students’ junior year she assists with researching post-graduation opportunities and how to find the right fit and completes the process in the students' senior year by assisting with the application process and the transition out of high school.
Peggy Buscema, MSW, LICSW Dean of Admissions
Peggy has over twenty years of experience in the field of Social Work and has worked in a variety of settings. Beginning her career as a clinician at McLean-Franciscan Children’s Hospital, she moved into the field of education as Clinical Director and Program Director of Essex Academy. She is a licensed School Adjustment Counselor and Supervisor as well as a Massachusetts Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. Peggy received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Villanova and a Master’s in Social Work from Simmons College.
Patti Bernheart, M.Ed., CAGS Dean of Educational Programming
Patti has a B.A. in Psychology and a Masters and CAGS in School Psychology. Patti is a licensed School Psychologist and Pupil Services Director. She has over 12 years of professional experience in the field of school psychology and education and has worked extensively in public and private school settings.
Jackie Thompson, MSW, LICSW Dean of Clinical Services
Jackie has been with New England Academy since the 2012-2013 school year, first as a School Social Worker and now as the Dean of Clinical Services. Jackie received her Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Boston College, and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Health Care Administration from Stonehill College. She is licensed by the state of Massachusetts as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and a School Adjustment Counselor. Jackie has over fifteen years of clinical experience, and an expertise in child and adolescent mental health. Prior to joining the team at New England Academy, Jackie’s experience included working with children in the special education environment, outpatient mental health, and private practice setting.
Katie Anderson, M.A. Director of Guidance
Katie has been with New England Academy since its inception and before that she taught at a North Shore public high school. Katie’s specialty is in English, although her passion and experience with special education students is what brought her to New England Academy. Previously, Katie has worked as a counselor for the “Spotlight” Program with students on the autism spectrum. Katie is a licensed English and Special Education teacher and has a Master’s degree in English from Salem State University
Elyssa Gustin, Psy.D. Clinical Psychologist
Elyssa is a licensed psychologist who earned her Psy.D. from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology with a concentration in Childhood, Adolescent, and Family practice. Prior to joining NEA, Elyssa completed a 2 year post-doctoral fellowship at The Trauma Center and Metrowest Behavioral Health Center. Her interests include the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with social/emotional and executive functioning difficulties.
Michael Culp, MT School Counselor
Michael holds both a BA (in Theatre) and a Masters in Teaching from the University of Richmond in Virginia and is currently pursuing additional graduate studies at Lesley University. For almost 15 years, Michael has been teaching and counseling children and adolescents in a wide variety of academic and therapeutic settings. Formerly the Program Coordinator for the Spotlight Program in Danvers, Michael joined New England Academy full time as a Counselor in 2008. With an extensive background in theatre and film, Michael also teaches a number of the schools enrichment courses integrating social pragmatics and an improvisational theatre curriculum. In addition to his work with students for individual counseling, Michael also leads the school’s film based extracurricular/enrichment groups.
Jamie Goudreau, M.A., LMHC School Counselor
Jamie received her Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University and is a licensed School Guidance and School Adjustment Counselor. She has many years of experience working in the school environment in this capacity as well as in clinical settings, residential treatment facilities for teenage girls and residential programs for teenagers with Autism. Jamie facilitates a variety of enrichments such as Mindfulness and Meditation and Women’s Studies.
Jacky Hart, M.S., CCC-SLP Speech Language Pathologist
Jacky completed her clinical training at MGH Institute of Health Professions where she received her Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology. She is also a certified Reading Specialist and has worked in a variety of clinical and school settings. Jacky specializes in supporting students’ executive functioning, learning and social pragmatic needs.
Kate Hayes, MSW, LICSW School Social Worker
Kate received her Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Boston College, and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Trinity College. She is licensed by the state of Massachusetts as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. In her career, Kate has developed an expertise in working with children, adolescents, adults and families.
Erin Boardman M.A., LMHC, MT-BC School Counselor
Erin Boardman is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the state of Massachusetts. She received her Masters in Expressive Therapies, with a Mental Health Counseling specialization from Lesley University. Erin is a board-certified music therapist, and has participated on the Massachusetts Music Therapy Alliance board since June 2010. Erin focuses on integrating music and creativity into the therapeutic process.
Julie Weieneth, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist
Julie is a licensed clinical psychologist. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology with a child and family concentration from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has gained experience in both inpatient and outpatient treatment settings for adults, children, and families, as well as specialized diagnostic assessment through her internship training at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center/Worcester State Hospital. Julie also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Developmental Medicine Center at Children’s Hospital Boston. Prior to joining the NEA team, she worked as a staff psychologist at a therapeutic day school in Boston.
Amanda Riley, MSN, FNP-BC School Nurse
Amanda began her nursing career working at Massachusetts General Hospital, inpatient pediatrics and as a Pediatric Clinical Nursing Instructor. After completing her Nurse Practitioner degree, Amanda worked in private practice before joining New England Academy. Amanda received her B.S. and Masters in Nursing from Northeastern University and is a Massachusetts licensed Registered Nurse and Family Nurse Practitioner.
Dominick Vogus, MSW, LICSW School Social Worker
Dominick is a Licensed Independent Certified Social Worker in the state of Massachusetts. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology from the College of Holy Cross, and a Master’s in Social Work from Boston College. While attending Boston College, Dominick was a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) fellowship recipient, and received additional training in adolescent mental health interventions through the fellowship. Before joining the New England Academy, Dominick gained clinical experience by working with both children and adolescents in inpatient and residential treatment settings.
Katie Quinn, MSW, LCSW School Social Worker
Katie received her Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Simmons College. She is licensed by the state of Massachusetts as a Clinical Social Worker. Katie has been doing community based social work for several years in the areas of in-home therapy, adoption and program development with children, adolescents, adults and families.
Lori McKechnie, M.A., LMHC, R-DMT School Counselor
Lori received her Master’s degree in Dance Therapy with a specialization in Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University. Throughout her career she has led dance and movement therapy clinical groups for children, adolescents and adults. Lori was trained and works as a Trauma Response Clinician, supporting communities and schools that experience traumatic events.
Rachel Longenecker, M.S. School Counselor
Rachel received her Master's degree in Art Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Springfield College. Before joining New England Academy as an Art Therapist, she gained experience in a wide variety of settings that include community based in-home therapy, an outpatient center for adults with traumatic brain injury, a college counseling center, and the inpatient center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Rachel has an extensive background in research, and has explored the benefits of mindfulness, meditation and art in a therapy setting. She recently traveled to India to immerse herself in the culture where yoga originated and has completed her 200-hour teacher training to become a Registered Yoga Teacher.
Abigail Adams, M.Ed. College Writing and Tutorial
Abigail received her Master’s Degree in Special Education from Gordon College. She also completed academic studies at L’Institut d’Etudes Francaises pour Etudiants Etrangers. Abigail taught French in public school prior to joining NEA. She is a licensed French teacher for grades 5-12.
Bethany Adams, M.Ed. Grade 5/6 Teacher
Bethany is an experienced special education teacher who has been teaching in both public and private school settings for over 14 years. Bethany has taught at multiple grade levels, ranging from K-12, and has worked with students with a variety of disabilities. She holds professional licensure in the area of Moderate Disabilities, Pre-K-12 and additional licensure in the areas of Elementary Education, grades 1-6.
Christine O’Hara, M.Ed. Writing/Tutorial
Christine began her teaching career working in large public schools as a middle school English and History teacher in inner city Lawrence. Christine has a variety of teaching experiences in working with diverse populations of students and families. Christine has a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Endicott College.
Wes Chittick, M.Ed. History Teacher
Wes is a graduate of Gordon College where he majored in History and Secondary Education and has a Master’s degree in Special Education from Endicott College. Wes taught at Masconomet Regional High School before coming to New England Academy and is an area lacrosse coach.
Stanley Eaton, MAT Science
Stanley is known as the “Science Master”, as he has held his teaching license in almost every area of science including General Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Stanley taught for seven years in public schools before joining the NEA staff. He has a passion for teaching students with different learning styles. Stanley has a Bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College and Master of Arts in Teaching from Marshall University and is licensed in Biology and General Science.
John Gehan, M.Ed. Tutorial
John is a special educator with more than ten years of teaching experience. He has a Master’s degree in Experiential Learning from Endicott College. John’s strength is in organization and study skills and he is very creative in helping students understand challenging concepts.
Jonathan Griffiths, M.Ed. Math
Jonathan is a graduate of Salve Regina University with a B.A. in Elementary and Special Education and a M.Ed. degree as a Mathematics Specialist. Prior to working at New England Academy, Jonathan also taught Special Education at the elementary and middle school levels. Jonathan is a licensed Special Education and Math Specialist teacher
Mike Lane, M.Ed. Math
Mike is a graduate of Gordon College with a B.A. in Secondary Education and History, and a M.Ed. in Special Education. Prior to working at New England Academy, Mike also taught general Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis. His true passion is helping students to learn to use their strengths to succeed in any class or activity. Mike is a licensed Secondary and Special Education teacher, grades 5-12.
Angela Langlais, M.A. Science
Angela began her teaching career working with inner city students in Lawrence Massachusetts. She has experience teaching science, as well as reading and math intervention classes, and experience as a high school tennis coach. Angela earned a B.S. in Elementary Education and Biology and has a Master’s degree from Gordon College.
Kate Perry, M.S. English
Kate is a veteran public school special education teacher, having taught for four in the Quincy public schools as a resource room teacher. Kate earned her Master’s degree in Education from the State University of New York and her bachelor’s in Sociology, with a minor in Education, from Hobart and William Smith College. She is a licensed General and Special Education Teacher.
Nicolas Prandi, M.Ed. Spanish
Nico is a native Spanish speaker from Argentina. He graduated from Gordon College with a Secondary Education and Spanish degree, as well as English as a Second Language concentration. He has a Master’s Degree from Endicott College. Before coming to NEA, he spent time teaching in both a suburban middle school setting in Danvers and an inner city high school setting in Lynn.
Sarah Rouba, M.Ed. History
Sarah, a native Australian, graduated from Newcastle University and has taught both internationally and in the U.S for the past ten years. Experienced in all levels, pre-k through 10th grade, Sarah is a licensed Elementary, K-8 teacher and Special Education teacher who completed her Master’s degree in Special Education at Endicott College.
Thomas Walsh, M.Ed. Mathematics
Tom graduated from Trinity College with a major in Mathematics and Religion. He has been working with high school students for many years as a Track and Cross Country coach. Tom graduated from Endicott College with a Masters degree in Special Needs Education. He is a licensed Mathematics and Special Education teacher.
Adam Pieroni, MA/MAT English
Adam began his teaching career at New England Academy after completing his Master of Arts in English. Prior to entering into the field of teaching, Adam was a copy editor, graphic designer and creative director. Adam earned a B.A. in English from Indiana University Bloomington and a Masters of Arts in Teaching English/English Literature from Salem State University. He is a licensed English Teacher.
Eric Piatelli, B.A. History
Eric is a graduate of Saint Michael’s College with a B.A. in History. Prior to working at New England Academy, Eric was a classroom teacher and History Coordinator at the Clark School. Eric is currently completing his Master’s degree in Special Education. He is a licensed History Teacher
Ian Richards, B.A. English Teacher
Ian has a Bachelor’s degree from Saint Michael’s College with a major in English and Secondary Education and a minor in creative writing. Ian served as a writing coach at Saint Michael’s and has received recognition for his non-fiction writings.